UNC Guard Marcus Paige Set to Return Against Maryland

The North Carolina Tar Heels are set for a top 10 matchup in the Dean Smith Center Tuesday night. And they’ll have an addition to the lineup in senior guard Marcus Paige.

UNC head coach Roy Williams said at his press conference on Monday that Paige would start, if he felt healthy leading up to tipoff.

“He’s our best player, our best defensive player,” Williams said, “and that’s what everybody forgets. I think that we’ve got to get a lot better defensively than the way we played those first six games. I think that’ll help us and his intensity level helps raise everybody else’s level too.

“That’s something we need to have at a higher level on a more consistent basis.”

Williams adds Paige practiced for the first time five-on-five on Saturday and that Paige will “likely” replace Theo Pinson in the starting lineup.

Paige said he felt good after going through a couple of days of full practice.

“My body feels good. My hand feels good,” Paige said. “I guess my hand won’t be technically, fully 100 percent for a while, but I don’t have any pain. To me, that’s 100 percent. If I don’t have to worry about it or think about it, I feel 100 percent.”

Paige did concede he probably won’t be “peak Marcus” right out of the gate but said he’s excited to get back on the floor with his teammates.

And the ninth-ranked Tar Heels have a tough matchup with a former conference foe – the second-ranked Maryland Terrpains.

Sophomore forward Justin Jackson says the team is excited to get “back to normal” with their senior leader on the court.

“Not having him out there those first, what, six games was definitely different,” Jackson says. “Having him out there the last, I guess what, two real practices and then walk through yesterday, it’s great to have him back out there.”

The game is part of this year’s ACC/Big Ten Challenge and pits Roy Williams with one of his former assistants in Mark Turgeon.

Carolina fans will see a familiar face for Maryland with former Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon, who transferred to Maryland after being dismissed from Duke.

Tipoff of the top-ten matchup in the Dean E. Smith Center is set for 9:30.

WCHL’s coverage of the game will begin at eight o’clock with Countdown to Tipoff Presented by UNC Healthcare on 97.9 FM/1360 AM.


Former Chapel Hill Mayor Honored for Public Service

A former Chapel Hill Mayor was honored by Governor Pat McCrory earlier this month.

Howard Lee served as Mayor of Chapel Hill from 1969 through 1975. He was the first African – American to be elected of a predominantly white Southern town.

Lee was then appointed the Secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural Resources and Community Development from 1977 – 1981.

Lee also served as the state Senate in two stints from 1990 – 1994 and 1996 – 2002 and was chair of the State Board of Education in 2003.

For all of these reasons, Lee was honored for his years of public service by Governor Pat McCrory with the North Carolina Award, the state’s highest civilian honor.

Lee said he was not expecting the recognition.

“I was working in my office at home and got this call from the Secretary of Cultural Resources, which is now Natural and Cultural Resources, informing me that I had been chosen for the award,” he recalls. “Which was a surprise because, frankly, I hadn’t even thought about it and didn’t even know I had been nominated.

“But it was certainly a pleasant surprise and one that I cherish very much.”

Lee, who now serves on the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute Board, says, while this is by no means the first honor he has received for his years of service, it is likely the most impactful on him.

“I’ve been given hundreds of awards, and I’ve appreciated them all, but to be chosen to receive the North Carolina Award, in my opinion, is the holy grail of awards in North Carolina,” Lee says, “because it’s the highest civilian award.

“I, frankly, didn’t know that my contributions would reach that level because there have been some absolutely distinguished individuals who have received that.”

Lee notes that anytime you receive an award that has also been given to Frank Porter Graham, it places the recognition in rarefied air.

Lee says he gets reenergized traveling across the state and seeing those who are willing to sacrifice their time, energy and expertise for the good of their communities and the state, as a whole.

“We hear a lot about the negatives but there are an awful lot of good things going on,” he says. “I’m especially proud of Chapel Hill that has continued to carry on the legacy of trying to improve opportunities for people in our community and to respond to the very basic needs in our community.”

Lee says the award transcends what he has done and is representative of our community.

“I think the governor really said it in the perfect way,” Lee says. “He said, ‘You’re not getting this for you. You’re getting it because you’ve been such an inspiration to other people.’

“And I think that’s what it’s all about.”

Chapel Hill radiologist Dr. A. Everette James Jr., Anthony S. Abbott, of Davidson, Dr. Anthony Atala, of Winston – Salem, Senator James T. Broyhill, of Winston Salem, and Patricia McBride, of Charlotte, also received the honor earlier this month.


UNC Running Back Elijah Hood named ACC Back of the Week

UNC running back Elijah Hood was named Atlantic Coast Conference Offensive Back of the Week for his performance in a victory against North Carolina State on Saturday, the conference announced on Monday.

Hood rushed for 220 yards on 21 carries and scored two touchdowns, helping the Tar Heels to a 45-34 victory over the Wolfpack.

This marked the first time Hood eclipsed a 200-yard rushing total at UNC and his seventh game over 100 yards this season. Hood is the first UNC running back to rush for more than 200 yards in a single game since Giovani Bernard had 262 vs. Virginia Tech in 2012.

Carolina has won 11 straight games to finish off the regular season with the lone loss coming in the season-opener to South Carolina.

The eighth-ranked Tar Heels will face off with number one Clemson on Saturday in the Dr. Pepper ACC Football Championship Game in Charlotte at Bank of America Stadium.


UNC Women’s Basketball Wins at Gonzaga

Destinee Walker, Tar Heel freshman who is the leading scorer in the Atlantic Coast Conference, helped the University of North Carolina women’s basketball team win its first road game 67-62 on Sunday afternoon against Gonzaga. UNC is now 5-3 on the season.

The game, which was part of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Women’s Challenge and hosted at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, featured four players scoring double figures in what made for a full team effort from the Tar Heels.

Walker led the team with 17 points, while sophomore Jamie Cherry added 14 points. In her first start of the season senior Xylina McDaniel scored 13 points. Red-shirt junior Hillary Summers chipped in 11 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double.

The win over the Bulldogs is the first Tar Heels win in which the team trailed an opponent. The end of the first period only saw a two-point differential which then grew to a 30-24 halftime lead for Gonzaga.

The game was tied at 60 with two minutes left in the fourth period, but a pair of free throws from McDaniel gave UNC all it would need to come back and seal the victory.

Last Monday, Destinee Walker was named ACC Rookie of the Week after averaging 19.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.8 steals in helping Carolina win all four of their games. Also worth noting, UNC has three starters who are ranked in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s leading scorers, with Walker, Cherry and freshman guard Stephanie Watts all making the list at 9, 11 and 26, respectively.

North Carolina will host Northwestern at six o’clock on Wednesday, Dec. 2, in Carmichael Arena. The game will be broadcast on 97.9 FM/1360 AM WCHL.


UNC Football Reserve Arrested in Raleigh

A reserve football player for North Carolina has been arrested on an assault charge hours after the Tar Heels beat North Carolina State.

Police in Raleigh say cornerback Tyreece Jiles got into a fight with an employee at a nightclub near downtown at about 3 a.m. Sunday. He was charged with simple assault and released from jail on a $1,200 bond. He is due in court Monday.

The university did not immediately comment.

Jiles is a 21-year-old senior from Cape Coral, Florida. He has made one career start and has one tackle in eight games this season. He’s listed as T.J. Jiles on the roster.

The Tar Heels will play Clemson in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game next week.

UNC announced late Sunday that Jiles has been suspended indefinitely.


Former UNC Professor and Longtime Chapel Hillian Vasa Mihailovich Passed Away

Dr. Vasa Mihailovich, a former professor at the University of North Carolina, died this past Saturday at his home in Stamford, Connecticut.

Mihailovich taught Slavic languages and literature at UNC from 1961 until he retired in 1995. He lived in Chapel Hill for 46 years before moving to Connecticut to be closer to his son and grandchildren.

A native of Yugoslavia, Mihailovich escaped bombing raids and execution squads before fleeing to Italy at the end of World War II. He emigrated to the United States in 1951 after spending five years in displaced persons camps in Italy and Germany. He put himself through college at Wayne State University in Detroit by working on the assembly line at Chrysler. Upon graduation, he attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he earned a Master’s degree and a Ph.D.

Mihailovich was a distinguished poet and author of short stories. His passion, other than literature and his family, was UNC basketball.

He is survived by his sons, Draggan and Zoran, and seven grandchildren.

His wife Branka died in 2006.

Mihailovich will be buried at a graveside funeral service at Chapel Hill Memorial Cemetery on Saturday at 10 a.m. He was 89.


Town Council Approves Building AC Hotel On Rosemary Street

The Chapel Hill Town Council unanimously approved a special use permit, which allows construction to begin on the AC Hotel by Marriott, which  will be located on the corner of Church and Rosemary Street.

“We feel like this project is a good fit for where the Town of Chapel Hill envisions itself going,” said Dennis Mitchell of OTO Development. “It’s a walkable to location to the Town of Chapel Hill.”

The hotel will be four stories, with 123 rooms and nearly 70,000 square feet of space. It will include an underground parking lot, which will be able to hold 111 vehicles.

“As a next-door neighbor, if you have to live with a four-story development, this is a good fit for us as we imagine what West Rosemary St. might be,” said Fran Gualtieri, owner of La Residence.

Mitchell said the hotel will also be beneficial residents, even if they do not stay at the hotel.

“The lobby is open and accessible to the public,” he said. “It has a small bar and a small tapas-style F and B program. We encourage the public to come in, but it’s not meant to be a full meal or a full bar.”

Construction of the hotel is supposed to begin before 2017.


Two Chapel Hill Teenagers Charged After Threat Against Local School

A lawyer representing two teenage suspects appeared in court on Tuesday following a threat against a local school.

Two Chapel Hill High School students were arrested and charged with making a false report of mass violence on educational property on Monday, and defense attorney Amos Tyndall appeared in court representing the teenagers on Tuesday afternoon.

17-year-old Shane Long allegedly sent a message to his stepbrother, 16-year-old Caleb Ethridge, via the social media site Snapchat on Monday with a picture of two boxes of ammunition with the caption, “Ready to shoot the school up!”

Ethridge then allegedly sent the same picture and caption out on Twitter.

Officials in the Chapel Hill – Carrboro School system were alerted of the message on Monday morning.

Long and Etheridge were questioned by Chapel Hill Police and arrested on Monday evening.

District Court Judge Beverly Scarlett extended the suspects curfew on Tuesday afternoon to run from seven o’clock in the evening to seven o’clock in the morning. Scarlett also ordered the suspects to attend school every day, unless they had a doctor’s note excusing their absence, and complete coursework as it was assigned by their teachers. The suspects were ordered to not possess or consume any alcohol or controlled substance, except by prescription, or to possess any firearm, weapon, explosive device or ammunition.

Tyndall said in court that the suspects would likely be disciplined by the school but did not want to comment on the record after the hearing, saying that it was too early to have much information.

Both suspects are being charged as adults on the class H level one felony, meaning the suspects could each face a maximum of eight to 19 months in prison, according to Orange County sentencing guidelines.

North Carolina and New York are the only two states in the country that treat 16 and 17 year old suspects as adults, regardless of the crimes they are accused of.

Long and Etheridge are due back in court on January 8, 2016.


Former UNC Linebacker Quincy Monk Passes Away

Former UNC linebacker Quincy Monk passed away on Tuesday afternoon after a battle with cancer.

Monk played for the Tar Heels from 1998 through 2001 and finished second on the team in tackles in his senior season. Monk was drafted by the New York Giants in the seventh round of the NFL draft.

Monk played two seasons for the Giants before finishing his football career with the Houston Texans.

The story of Monk’s battle against cancer gained attention earlier this year as his teammates came to his side.

UNC football coach Larry Fedora released the following statement after the passing on Monk:

“I am deeply saddened to learn of Quincy’s passing this afternoon. Quincy came and spoke to the team earlier this year before our Wake Forest game. In the brief time I knew him, it became clear how great of person he was, how much this University meant to him and how much this football program was part of his life. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Lisa, and his two beautiful children, Naomi and Aiden.”


Underage Drinking a ‘Terrific Problem’ in North Carolina

Cases of underage drinking made for a long meeting of the state Alcohol Beverage Control Commission last Wednesday.

The case against La Res was the main draw for attention. The Chapel Hill restaurant and bar was investigated for its role in the fatal wrong-way crash on I-85 in July.

Records show Chandler Kania, a 20-year-old UNC student, and a group of underage friends were served alcohol at La Res hours before police say Kania drove the wrong-way on I-85 for at least six miles before crashing into another vehicle head-on, killing three of the four passengers.

But after the ABC board meeting, chair James Gardner said, rather than focusing on one infraction, he was more disappointed with the frequency of underage drinking cases the commission hears. Of the 122 offers in compromise ratified on Wednesday, Gardner said two-thirds of them involved underage drinking.

He added the commission is now in the second phase of a mission to curb what some consider a public health risk.

“The first phase was to bring everybody’s attention to the fact that underage drinking in this state is a terrific problem,” Gardner says. “The second phase is to try to get parents and the middle school children to talk together about what the problem is.”

Gardner said it is important to get the message to those middle school students and parents to start the education process. But he added training servers and reminding them of their responsibilities was another key spoke in the fight against underage drinking.

“This is especially true in all of our college towns,” Gardner says. “We have trained over 4,000 permit holders [and] servers this year. And we will continue to do it into next year, going into every college town in the state of North Carolina.”

Gardner said with the training that is offered by state and local officials, enforcement efforts will also be increased.

“With ALE and the local ABC enforcements, we have stepped up our activities in trying – in particular in college towns across the state – to see that every permit holder in the state of North Carolina understands that it is their responsibility not to serve anybody under 21 years old.”

More than $200,000 in fines were brought in at the November meeting alone as part of the more than 120 offers in compromise agreed to by businesses across the state and the ABC Commission.

Gardner said the commission has brought in more than $800,000 throughout the year and anticipates nearly $1 million in fines by year’s end. He added that money is redistributed to local schools across the state. Wherever the violation occurred, that school district receives the funding.

Of the 120-plus offers agreed to, 22 of those establishments that were fined for not being in compliance were located in Orange County.

Businesses that sell alcohol in Orange County are facing nearly $44,000 in fines or having their alcohol permits suspended for 439 days, collectively. Those numbers are just related to the November board meeting of the state Alcohol Beverage Control Commission.

Local Efforts

Chapel Hill Police Lieutenant Josh Mecimore says the department has an investigator whose primary role is as a liaison between local police and the state Alcohol Law Enforcement and the ABC Commission.

“A big part of his role is organizing those alert operations where we do either compliance checks or we might have officers out doing loud party patrols during specific times of year,” Mecimore says. “Frequently those center around prom season and graduation time for the high school, graduation time for the university.”

Seven of 34 Chapel Hill businesses checked in August during a compliance sweep were cited for selling alcohol to an underage patron.

“Those underage buyers are using their own ID,” Mecimore says. “It’s not like they have a fake ID that says they are over 21. They have their ID that says that they are 19 or however old they are.

“So they either didn’t check the ID at all or they checked it, it says that the person is under 21 and they still served them.”

That failure rate is actually an improvement over checks in recent years.

Mecimore says businesses included in compliance checks are made up of a combination of random selections and businesses that were previously cited.

Mecimore says Chapel Hill Police have a multifaceted effort against alcohol-related incidents. But he adds, in a college town, underage drinking is a major focus.

“I regularly tell people the reason for that is far less about what the legal drinking age is and far more about what we see as a result of people either over-consuming or irresponsibly-consuming alcohol.”

Mecimore says police see many cases where a suspect and victim have consumed alcohol, including physical assaults and sexual assaults.

Jim Wise is the student assistance program specialist at Chapel Hill High School and the lead in that role for all middle and high schools across the district. Wise says there is coordination with local police and schools for enforcement and education.

“We’ll do more of that with the high school,” Wise says. “Bring [police] in for events around safe driving, impaired driving. But we’ll do legal education. They come in, they’ll present in driver’s education classes for instance.

“The traffic officers will come [and] they’ll talk about safe driving, but they’ll talk about all of the issues around impairment and distracted driving.”

Wise says education about drinking starts in middle school health classes and continues until graduation.

“The one piece that really seems to resound and be effective with young people is to talk to them about brain development, brain biology and how use, especially at young ages, can affect the development of their brains,” Wise says. “And with such a premium put on education in this community, it’s a message that doesn’t just resonate with young people.

“But it also resonates with parents, staff and pretty much any community member.”

Wise says Chapel Hill – Carrboro City Schools conducts its own survey every two years regarding underage drinking in high schools across the district. Wise says, in 2013, 32 percent of high school students responded they had consumed an alcoholic beverage in the last 30 days. Wise says that number is down three percent from 2011. But Wise says he is more disturbed that 17 percent of students responded they did binge drink, which is consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in one sitting. He says that number has not changed much in recent years.

“One of the powerful things is, since this is our data, the students can’t say, ‘Well that’s those kids in Georgia or North Dakota,’” Wise says. “We can say, ‘No, this is what you and your peers said you’re doing.’

“So we really do feel like this is accurate and local information that we can do something with.”

Wise says it is important for parents to be involved in the conversation with their school-aged children and for parents to avoid glorifying past bad decisions.

“But to be able to say, ‘This happened and it was scary,’” Wise says. “Because I think we all have personal stories of people we may have grown up with we know who had some really scary, impactful things happen to them because of involvement and decisions they made around alcohol use or other substance use.”

Wise says he expects new data related to underage drinking gathered this spring.